Back to Black

For the past few years I've wanted to design a room solely in shades of black and white.  Pulling off that look takes serious editorial skills (not to mention a lot of huevos). When it comes to design, I lean towards the "more is more" philosophy but secretly pine for living with less.   I really love color too: pinks, blues, reds, greens and oranges are my go-to girls, so it's hard to imagine excluding them from the party.  But I've been mulling it over and thinking the time has come for a large dose of black (or very dark chocolate brown) in my ethereal off-white world of sofas, chairs and curtains.

Black and white have been fashion staples forever.   Here's Julianna Moore from a few years ago looking fab in traditional houndstooth with a little zebra zing thrown in.

New York's Spring 2013 Fashion week was replete with black and white ensembles.  Christina H's blog deC√©lie has a quick overview :

(runway photo's from

I absolutely love Emily Weiss rocking this black and white look from NY's Spring 2014 Fashion Week.  Fantastique!

Photographed by Phil Oh

Celerie Kemble's 2010 book explored the b&w premise:

Julie Carlson's recently released book Remodelista, plays with the concept too:

My first black and and white furniture crush was this year's MGBW Draper Chair:

And more recently, this Donegal sofa from Crate and Barrel

A few weeks back I saw this great Marimekko animal print on the fabric wall in their new Beverly Hills location:

All this black and white is a decidedly mid-century turn for someone who up until now was enamored with white linen slipcovers.  So yesterday (as if there wasn't enough to do two days before Christmas) I stopped by FandS Fabrics to check out a few black and white textiles and ponder if this was just a phase or something a bit more legit.  FandS, located on Pico Boulevard, is a Southern California designer staple and one of the last surviving fabric stores in town. Not sure how long they've been in business but I can tell you that my mother, aunt and grandmother all shopped there.

It's a little wild to imagine my grandmother Darlene roaming the same aisles, touching the fabrics and mixing patterns so many years ago.  She made her own slipcovers and draperies and her sewing skills are still admired by our family:  "No simple feat," my mother would say.

Here  are a few black and white patterns I considered.
The first is a plaid...

This gods-eye pattern was fun in either color way:

To quote Sheila Bridges, "I never met a stripe I didn't like" so this ticking pattern would be a safe segue into black.

This pattern has other colors but I loved the Arts and Crafts feeling combined with a black ground.

For this photo it was the bottom bolt, the houndstooth that caught my eye.  The fabric above it is too Escher-esque and makes me dizzy.

Another linen stripe...

These two fabrics, the gold leaf and the white embroidered floral pattern, were both really nice.

A simple woven linen with a subtle sheen.

A faux cow hide could be really fun on the right piece.

Another faux fur in brown with black undertones

This oversized damask was really pretty and not too serious.

Here's the same damask in two other colorways.

I'll keep you posted on what happens. It may be simply starting by painting my front door black on the interior.

photo via nestegg


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